Many websites require a user to register a user name and password in order to gain access and privileges on the site. Any type of financial institution (bank, credit card, etc) certainly requires a password to gain access to your account; this provides protection against identity theft and fraud. A strong password offers you greater protection against a hacker trying to gain access to your information.
My first recommendation would be to use RoboForm. I’ve personally used it for years, and don’t know how anyone who has to remember a lot of different log in and password combinations can work without it. I’m hoping you don’t rely on your browser to memorize your passwords for you. That’s a disaster waiting to happen!
If you’re insistent on doing things the hard way, here are some suggestions for creating strong passwords:
1 Keep your passwords private and do not share them with others. It may seem very elementary but if you must share a password with someone, anyone, remember to immediately change it to something else.
2 Pick a password that is meaningless to others. Choose a password that you can remember (or use a password manager like RoboForm) but make sure the password is completely meaningless to anyone else.
3 A password should be a minimum of eight characters in length. Many banking websites will simply not allow a password less than eight characters in length and some are even switching to 16 characters or more.
4 Don’t use a password containing all of the same characters. Choose a password that contains numbers, letters, and symbol characters. Y@Tery2ya! is an example of a strong password.
5 Create a password with both lowercase and uppercase letters. This makes it more difficult for hackers and thieves to utilize more common methods of password cracking such as automated dictionary hurlers.
6 Never send your password via email or provide it over the phone. If you absolutely have to, always remember to change it once the recipient has finished doing whatever it is they needed the password for in the first place and no longer needs it.
7 Try to create a password that is not a dictionary word. These passwords are easier to hack and to plainly guess. Yahoo recently reported that the most commonly used password is actually “password”! Do not do this; it is a ridiculously easy password to guess and your accounts could be compromised.
8 Never use your telephone number, zip code, address or portions of your social security number.
9 Passwords are not foolproof. Do not rely on a password alone to protect sensitive information. Monitor accounts closely to ensure that security is not being breached.
10 Use a sentence or common saying that you will remember to help you create your random password. For example you may use ‘I really love the Lexus SC-430!’ and your password would appear as IrltheLS-43! which is a much more difficult password to guess or crack than using simply lexus430.
Hopefully you have secured all of your log in and passwords with something more secure than an easy to guess word or birthday. Remember, you only have one identity… protect it!
Until next time…